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Author Topic: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End  (Read 5592 times)

Offline JMack

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Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« on: June 25, 2016, 03:14:08 AM »
Post your thoughts on Part 4 here!

« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 11:07:52 AM by Jmack »
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2016, 12:48:37 AM »
First to finish!  8)

Damn, this was really good! I wanted to keep reading more! 5/5

Really liked how the characters developed, and I think you all can guess who is my favorite, and she didn't had chapters in Part 4 either, except for a brief appearance. If Sebastian had landed that hit...

More thoughts later!

 
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 05:53:16 AM by Lanko »
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2016, 05:46:07 AM »
Yay Lanko - I say the same as with Geoff's book: if you liked this one, you will *love* books 2 and 3 :D
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 02:10:12 AM »
Mostly from the review:

- The characters were great, with relationships developing and evolving throughout the book. Wydrin, Sebastian and Frith formed an amazing trio of rogue, knight and mage.
Some plot twists, specially involving Sebastian, really blew me away.

- And I have to say my favorite character is Thirty-Third. Who inexplicably didn't have a single chapter in Parts III and IV!
Remember how awesome it was to have a Stormtrooper POV in the new Star Wars? No, not the hero trading some words with one or as a secondary character who appeared now and then, but a major POV, with face, thoughts and actions moving the story forward, and not another faceless minion amongst an ocean of others who exist solely for the hero to blaze through and make him look powerful.
That's Thirty-Third, and done a year or more before Disney did! I'm not sure if even Jen realized what she'd done there, considering TT didn't had any chapters after Part II.

- The Ynnsmouth reference left me thinking if I didn't get any other references. Now I want to know...

- Some aspects of the story felt a bit too...gamish for me. Like the armor who grants extra bonuses if you wear 4 pieces of the set. The fight against Y'Ruen felt like a raid boss encounter when you need to repeat the fight mechanics to kill it.

- I liked how the romance was developed, slowly burning and infiltrating the characters.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline SJBudd

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 05:02:05 PM »
Wydrin - "You look like a sack of dog's testicles, you know that? And I do't mean that in a nice way."

One day I'm going to drop this in a real conversation.

Offline SJBudd

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 06:34:34 PM »
Just finished! Really enjoyed the book. I loved the ending too, they are very much set on causing more mischief.

I was a bit worried that the dragon saga might go on for the whole trilogy and glad they defeated Y'Ruen in the end of the book.

The romance between Frith and Wyrdrin was nicely done and fitted in well with the tone of the novel.

I had wondered whether Sebastian would turn bad but he did good in the end and is now concentrating on raising his new family of 200 daughters!


Offline Delaney

Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2016, 01:49:30 PM »
Just finished, awesome stuff! Where do I sign up for more!?
Quote
I was a bit worried that the dragon saga might go on for the whole trilogy and glad they defeated Y'Ruen in the end of the book.

I was thinking the same thing. The end did feel a little bit rushed to me but on the plus side I am looking forward to a completely new adventure in the next book :D (which I hope includes a lot of Sebastian and his daughters)

Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2016, 06:33:40 PM »
Well, I just finished at a café downtown, and I LOVED IT.

Overall, a very well-crafted story. Especially the most vital component in a reader's investment: The characters.

Random thoughts as they occur to me:

*I ended up being a bit surprised that the brood ladies didn't have more page-time, as I found them quite interesting. But then I suppose there was only so much that could be done with them.

*Sebastian's journey was an interesting read. I was prepared for him to either die in a sea of blood, or just fall all the way, a subversion of the noble hero who remains stoic through any amount of crap from an unjust world. I'm an atheist, but that moment when he found his god again really struck me. Good moment, right there.

*THIS is how you do a dragon, and how I will do a dragon if I ever get around to writing the iron age series that has been rolling around in my head for a while: An absolutely terrifying, nigh-unstoppable monster. I feel the same way about dragons as I do about vampires: If a hero can dispatch one relatively casually, you aren't doing it right.

*I'm surprised to see there are sequels, as The Copper Promise feels like a fairly complete story in its own right, and I thought it was a collection of shorter stories.

*Maybe I got the distances between areas wrong, but the griffins seemed able to get between different rune-sites with rather strange speed.

Anyway, that's my stuff for now.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2016, 09:07:25 PM »
*I'm surprised to see there are sequels, as The Copper Promise feels like a fairly complete story in its own right, and I thought it was a collection of shorter stories.
They are sequels, yes, but they can totally be read as separate books (although I admit you miss out on lots of references if you just read book 2 or 3)
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2016, 05:33:58 PM »
Gradually working to unbury myself from a very busy July. :) I still have more work to do on my fantasy WIP, but next up (hopefully tonight) are my delayed critiques for folks in the writing group and D_Bates. However, I did manage to finish The Copper Promise on the plane back from Armadillocon (despite juggling between electronic devices used to entertain an almost 2 year old) and it's absolutely one of my favorite books I've read recently.

Spoiler for Hiden:
While I was hoping more would be made of Sebastian's connection to the brood army, I did like how teaching the survivors how to do things other than murder gave Sebastian a purpose at the end of the book. He basically completed his painful "break up" with the Ynnsmouth Knights and found a new tribe in the brood sisters, so while his connection with Y'Ruen's brood didn't play into the climax as much as I'd expected, it still made a satisfying denouement to Sebastian's arc.

If I had one nit, it was that Sebastian's denial of Bezcavar (after swearing his sword to him with a blood oath) seemed a bit too easy. It seems to me that making a blood oath to a demon should be a bit harder to break than just telling off the demon and going back to what you were doing, so that was one part that felt a bit too "easy", in comparison to the other challenges faced by the characters. I was actually surprised by that bit of the story, though it may have been necessary just to make the book more self-contained.

With Frith, I really liked the whole sequence with him learning from O'Rin (a bird man wearing a bird mask... heh!) and how channeling his magic ended up happening via the linen strips and words of power. I always enjoy magic systems that have a system to them (because systems fascinate me) so I liked the way Frith used specific words of power in certain situations. There's always the chance that mages will be overpowered and while Frith certainly did seem to be incredibly powerful, the fact that the linen burned off and using power drained him did provide some sense of frailty. Considering the insane set of circumstances and hardships he had to endure to gain the power of the mages (and their rarity) I was able to accept that his power was a bit more off the charts than you'd expect.

Finally, I think I liked just about every aspect of Wydrin's journey. She consistently came off as smart, capable, and pragmatic, and there was never any point where she felt overpowered or plot-armored. She was just a really competent fighter with a really good head on her shoulders, and she still got her butt kicked often enough that she didn't come across as invincible. I especially loved her takedown of Roki (so glad that happened) where she simply followed her nose. Also loved her line about "the full set" of Bezcavar's armor. Definitely taking me back to Dragon Age (since Jen mentioned that was among her inspirations).

I also enjoyed the brood sisters, though perhaps not as much as others. They were interesting initially, but it felt like they sort of vanished in the last two parts, with the exception of Sebastian convincing them to stop fighting shortly before Y'Ruen got sucked into a hole. I wish we'd seen a bit more of them and their journey, but I also recognize how difficult it is to wrap up a book without it being overcrowded with plots and characters, and I feel like they'd provide excellent exploration material for a sequel (which, given there are three sequels, I look forward to seeing!)

So overall, very competent writing, great pacing, fun characters, and a plot that moved forward while constantly zagging into places I didn't expect. Great stuff, Jen! I'll be posting this review to Amazon and Goodreads shortly.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2016, 05:55:57 PM »
And adding my official review (5 stars!) for those interested. Minimal spoilers. Thanks for coming by and answering questions, @sennydreadful!

Quote
I picked up The Copper Promise as part of Fantasy-Faction's monthly book club, and wasn't disappointed. Author Jen Williams channels the best elements of old school sword-and-sorcery pulp and modern videogames like Dragon Age into a page-turning story with competent protagonists who, despite their best efforts, often end up being their own worst enemies. Far from being noble heroes setting out to save the world, Wydrin, Sebastian, and Lord Aaron Frith all have very grounded, believable motivations guiding their paths. Saving the land from a monstrous country-incinerating dragon is about the *last* thing any of them want to do, which makes it all the more enjoyable when the consequences of their actions force them down that path.

By the time the final battle takes place, the protagonists have all completed journeys that have naturally led them to where they are at the end of the book, with strong reasons to risk their lives for each other and for the world at large. Wydrin (the self-titled "Copper Cat") is a great protagonist who relies on her fighting skills and level head to handle situations that would get other people killed, and her victories, defeats, and narrow escapes feel plausible and earned. Sebastian, the noble knight exiled from his order for close-minded reasons, remains a consistent moral compass for Wydrin and his allies even as the compromises he makes in hopes of doing "the right thing" take him to darker and darker places. And Frith, whose primary motivation is almost entirely revenge, soon finds that it takes more than hatred of the people who destroyed his family and his life to drive him forward. This is character-driven fantasy, and it's really fun to read.

My nits are largely related to Williams possibly trying to take on too much story over the length of the four parts. There was one case where I felt a truly character-changing decision was reversed a bit too easily, and a few plot elements that I felt might have been brought more to the forefront. These are minor issues, and the story is so enjoyable that I honestly didn't care. I do hope to see those issues and plot elements tackled in more detail in later books in the series.

The Copper Promise is a fun, fast-paced, enjoyable book for any fantasy fan, and I look forward to continuing with the series.

Offline Lanko

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2016, 08:25:48 PM »

Spoiler for Hiden:

If I had one nit, it was that Sebastian's denial of Bezcavar (after swearing his sword to him with a blood oath) seemed a bit too easy. It seems to me that making a blood oath to a demon should be a bit harder to break than just telling off the demon and going back to what you were doing, so that was one part that felt a bit too "easy", in comparison to the other challenges faced by the characters. I was actually surprised by that bit of the story, though it may have been necessary just to make the book more self-contained.


Spoiler for Hiden:
I got the feeling that it only worked because he wasn't just a former paladin/holy knight of Ynnsmouth, but one who truly heard his call through the god/goddess (as he mentions hearing voices from the mountain calling him out since he was a child) and in that moment he heard it again, so there was some divine intervention there.
Also, he was exactly at Ynnsmouth, a holy site.

I think that oath breaking was totally an illusion because of this and as soon as he gets out of there trouble will begin again, specially when you have 200 dragon daughters who are influenced by your thoughts. One Y'Ruen was bad enough, imagine now 200 demon-possessed dragons!

But now that you mentioned it I believe you are right that it could have used a little more struggle there.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline sennydreadful

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2016, 09:18:03 PM »
And adding my official review (5 stars!) for those interested. Minimal spoilers. Thanks for coming by and answering questions, @sennydreadful!

Quote
I picked up The Copper Promise as part of Fantasy-Faction's monthly book club, and wasn't disappointed. Author Jen Williams channels the best elements of old school sword-and-sorcery pulp and modern videogames like Dragon Age into a page-turning story with competent protagonists who, despite their best efforts, often end up being their own worst enemies. Far from being noble heroes setting out to save the world, Wydrin, Sebastian, and Lord Aaron Frith all have very grounded, believable motivations guiding their paths. Saving the land from a monstrous country-incinerating dragon is about the *last* thing any of them want to do, which makes it all the more enjoyable when the consequences of their actions force them down that path.

By the time the final battle takes place, the protagonists have all completed journeys that have naturally led them to where they are at the end of the book, with strong reasons to risk their lives for each other and for the world at large. Wydrin (the self-titled "Copper Cat") is a great protagonist who relies on her fighting skills and level head to handle situations that would get other people killed, and her victories, defeats, and narrow escapes feel plausible and earned. Sebastian, the noble knight exiled from his order for close-minded reasons, remains a consistent moral compass for Wydrin and his allies even as the compromises he makes in hopes of doing "the right thing" take him to darker and darker places. And Frith, whose primary motivation is almost entirely revenge, soon finds that it takes more than hatred of the people who destroyed his family and his life to drive him forward. This is character-driven fantasy, and it's really fun to read.

My nits are largely related to Williams possibly trying to take on too much story over the length of the four parts. There was one case where I felt a truly character-changing decision was reversed a bit too easily, and a few plot elements that I felt might have been brought more to the forefront. These are minor issues, and the story is so enjoyable that I honestly didn't care. I do hope to see those issues and plot elements tackled in more detail in later books in the series.

The Copper Promise is a fun, fast-paced, enjoyable book for any fantasy fan, and I look forward to continuing with the series.

Thank you for your lovely review! I am dead chuffed you enjoyed the book :D It's funny, watching discussion of a book I wrote a few years ago now (where did that time go?!) and while there are some things I would tweak, ultimately very proud of my baby debut :D

Also:

Spoiler for Hiden:
We do hear from Bezcavar and the brood sisters in The Iron Ghost...
The Copper Promise

http://sennydreadful.co.uk/

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2016, 09:58:24 PM »
Spoiler for Hiden:
We do hear from Bezcavar and the brood sisters in The Iron Ghost...

Ha, awesome! I look forward to seeing where that goes. :)

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Part 4: Upon the Ashen Blade, Ch 59 to the End
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2016, 08:43:08 PM »
i realized i hadn't posted since i finished it.  it was so thoroughly enjoyable.

best part tho?  totally sebastian's 200 brood daughters and how incredibly cool it was that they moved back to the mountain.

i can imagine the conversation in your head when you wrote it:

you:  "what's the craziest thing that could happen?"
other you:  "sebastian flirts with being evil."
you:  "i like it, but what's even crazier?"
other you:  "that his blood spawns a host of evil warriors?"
you:  "nice!  more!"
other you:  "what if they were hundreds of demon warrior women and he was their dad?!"
you:  "yes!  yes!  yes!"
other you:  ". . . and what if he co-opted them for his personal army?!"
you:  "omg!  perfect!"
other you:  ". . . and took over the home of the knights that kicked him out?!?"
you:  *scribble*  *scribble*  *scribble*
other you:  *maniacal laughter*